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Teaching Faculty


Ms. Kassi Frey

PreK Classroom Teacher

Ms. Kassi has been teaching in New Haven Public Schools since 2019. Ms. Kassi completed her undergraduate at Southern Connecticut State University graduating in 2018 with a Bachelors in Education and a Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies, concentrating in Psychology and English. Ms. Kassi is in the process of completing her Masters degree in Education, at Post University concentrating in Curriculum and Instruction.  “I love teaching preschool because I enjoy seeing how happy they are to come to school and learn. It makes coming to work every day “fun” and not seem like work.”


Mrs. Kat Laverty

PreK Classroom Paraprofessional

Kat Laverty attended Southern Connecticut State University and began working in New Haven as a special education paraprofessional in 1999 at Jackie Robinson. Mrs. Laverty took some time off to start a family and returned back to the city at Nathan Hale when her youngest daughter started school.  "I love working with preschool because they make me smile and laugh every day!!!"


Ms. Margaret Carpenter

PreK Classroom Paraprofessional

Ms. Carpenter (students call her Ms. Peggy) started working as a paraprofessional at Nathan Hale in the fall of 2019.  "I love working at Nathan Hale because it is such a great place for children to grow."  

"Be yourself, everyone else is taken" by Oscar Wilde.


Ms. Gina Golia

PreK Classroom Teacher

Mrs. Golia graduated with her associate’s degree from Briarwood College in early childhood education in 1997.  She received her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from Charter Oak State College in 2019.  Ms. Golia has been a Pre-K teacher in the New Haven Public schools since 2002.  Ms. Golia has been at Nathan Hale School since 2016.  “I love being a Pre-K teacher because so often I get to experience groundbreaking moments with my students. I may be the first person to see a student show great empathy, or I am there when a student finally learns the letters in their name. Happy moments like this and the love that is in a classroom full of little ones are the reasons I have been a Pre-K teacher for the last 18 years.”


Ms. Marissa Gamberdella

PreK a.m. Classroom Teacher

Marissa Gamberdella has been teaching in the New Haven Public Schools since 2006. She attended Southern Connecticut State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood/ Psychology.  She started her career at Wexler Grant, teaching Early Childhood for one year and has been at Nathan Hale for the past 13 years. Nathan Hale is my second home. It has been a pleasure to be a part of this community for so long and be able to watch my babies grow over the years. When someone asks why I became a teacher, I remind them why it’s worth it. "Every job has its ups and downs, but not every job can change a life! "


Ms. Mary Ann Stewart

PreK p.m. Classroom Teacher

Mary Ann Stewart has an associate’s degree in Fine Arts from Middlesex Community College, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Paier College of Art and took graduate courses at Southern Connecticut State University / Gateway Comm. College in Early Childhood Education.  She began teaching young children as a nanny in 1996 after transitioning from her first career in graphic design and illustration. Her artistic and creative background lends itself well to work in early childhood. She tries to motivate and encourage her students to learn through play and develop a love for learning and creating.  In 1997,  she taught at Huntington Point Child Development Center in Shelton and Hospital of St. Raphael Childcare Center. She then began working for NHBOE as a Head Teacher in the Head Start Program in 2000 at Jackie Robinson School, Martin Luther King, Helene Grant and Celentano, where she taught in a 50/50 Special Education Program. Since 2013, she has worked in the School Readiness Program as a preschool Head Teacher at Strong School and Nathan Hale School where she currently works.  "My greatest reward is to see children engaged, joyful and having fun while learning."


Mrs. Danielle Herrmann

Kindergarten Classroom Teacher

Ms. Herrmann has been teaching kindergarten in New Haven since 1999.  She has worked at Timothy Dwight School and Augusta Lewis Troop School before coming to Nathan Hale in 2011.  Ms. Herrmann got her Master's in Education from The University of New Haven and completed her undergraduate studies at Sacred Heart University and Albertus Magnus College.  “I absolutely love teaching Kindergarten.   Young children are eager to learn and as a kindergarten teacher, I am responsible for integrating them into the world of learning and to build a love for school and I get firsthand witness to their new discoveries and "firsts" each day."


Ms. Linda Randi

Kindergarten Classroom Paraprofessional

Ms. Linda Randi has been a paraprofessional at Nathan Hale School since 1986. She began her career as an instructor for the Right to Read program at Nathan Hale School and then joined the kindergarten team. She enjoys seeing the amount of progress her students make from the start of the school year to the end.


Mrs. Lorena Lubanda

Kindergarten Classroom Teacher

Ms. Lubanda has been teaching in New Haven since 2001. She joined the Nathan Hale family in 2016. Ms. Lubanda completed her undergraduate studies at Southern Connecticut State University earning a bachelor's degree in Education. She received her master's in Special Education from the University of St. Joseph. Ms. Lubanda loves teaching kindergarten. She says, "It is a time of many firsts and is so excited to be a part of it!"


Ms. Lucy Prokop

Kindergarten Classroom Paraprofessional

Ms. Prokop has been a paraprofessional at Nathan Hale School since 1997. She has been a part of the Nathan Hale Community since 1987 when both her children attended. Ms. Prokop says, "Her best rewards are the students, colleagues, and parents that I she has met throughout her years at Nathan Hale School.


Ms. Briana Amodio

Grade 1 Classroom Teacher

Miss Amodio earned her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with a focus on psychology and public health from Southern Connecticut State University.  She started her teaching career in 2015 as a pre-k teacher while completing her master’s program.  Miss Amodio earned her master’s degree in Elementary Education from SCSU.  She joined the Nathan Hale team in 2020 as a first-grade teacher.  “I love teaching because of the positive impact I am able to make on a child’s life.  There is no better feeling than being a part of the “I got it moments” and seeing those smiles when they accomplish something.” 


Mr. Michael Murphy

Grade 1 Classroom Paraprofessional

Michael Murphy attended Southern Connecticut State University from the Fall of 2006 to the Spring of 2011 where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in Biology. He joined the Nathan Hale family in the 2016 as a Kindergarten Paraprofessional but then joined the First Grade team where he has been since 2017. He teaches his students that school and learning can be fun by teaching with a smile, a sense of humor but also the drive to see his students succeed further than they think they ever could.


Mrs. Mindy Canalori

Grade 1 Classroom Teacher

Mrs. Canalori has been teaching in New Haven since 2007.  She worked at John C. Daniels School before coming to Nathan Hale in 2019.  Mrs. Canalori received her Master’s in Education from Southern Connecticut State University and completed her undergraduate studies at Albertus Magnus College.  “I love teaching because of my students.  We laugh a lot, share our ideas, learn and support one another. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”


Mrs. Jody Ortiz

Grade 1 Classroom Paraprofessional

Mrs. Ortiz graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1992.  She began working at Nathan Hale School as a 2nd grade Special Education paraprofessional in 2015.  She has since worked with many grades and groups of students.  In 2020 she started working as a 1st grade paraprofessional in Mrs. Canalori's class.  "I love working with the Nathan Hale community because it is like a big family." 


Mr. Ryan Reynolds

Grade 1 Classroom Teacher

Mr. Reynolds has been teaching in New Haven Public Schools since 1996. Mr. Reynolds has a Master's Degree in Education from the University of Bridgeport and completed his undergraduate studies at Southern Connecticut State University. Mr. Reynolds began his career at Worthington Hooker School, teaching both kindergarten and first grade. "Teaching is like a box of Legos. It provides me the opportunity to creatively build upon a child's potential every day."


Ms. Denise Cusack

Grade 1 Classroom Paraprofessional

Ms. Cusack has been a paraprofessional since 1995, starting at West Hills. Besides Nathan Hale, she has also worked at Fair Haven as a kindergarten para.  She has lived in Morris Cove her whole life and attended Nathan Hale as a student many years ago. 


Mr. Alex Styles

Grade 2 Classroom Teacher

Mr. Styles began his career in education in the summer of 2009 when he ran a summer literacy program with the YMCA for two summers.  He then received his associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Naugatuck Valley Community College.   He received his bachelor's degree  in Child Studies at Post University and his master's degree at the University of Bridgeport.  He has had experience in many types of classes such as kindergarten, 3rd grade, special education, pre-school and English as a second language.  Mr. Styles started his career at Nathan Hale in September, 2020.    "It brings me joy knowing that I will have a part in shaping the future and helping children to find the best version of themselves."


Ms. Stacey Cormier

Grade 2 Classroom Teacher

Mrs. Cormier earned her BA from Wheelock College in 1998.  She began her career in Newton, Massachusetts, teaching pre-k.  In 1999,  she moved back home to Connecticut teaching pre-k for a brief time.  In 2001, she started her career in New Haven working at Wexler Grant Community School for 10 years.  In 2008, she earned her master’s degree from SCSU.   In 2011, she joined the Nathan Hale family.  "There is no greater joy than to mold young minds of today and create the next generations of life long learners"


Ms. Taylor Gambino

Grade 3 Classroom Teacher

Mrs. Gambino has been teaching at Nathan Hale since 2016. She has taught both 2nd and 3rd grade. Her career began at Nathan Hale in 2015 as a long term substitute and a building substitute. She earned her bachelor's degree in English and her master’s in Elementary Education at Sacred Heart University. “I have always wanted to be a teacher since I was 7 years old. I love the positive atmosphere and the engaging classroom experience. I enjoy building a rapport with each student and I especially love when the light bulb goes off to show they understand what I am teaching. It is the most rewarding job, and I love seeing my students grow and learn from me each year.”


Ms. Jennifer Palmer

Grade 3 Classroom Teacher

Ms. Palmer earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southern Connecticut State University and her master’s degree in reading from Walden University.  She has been teaching for New Haven Public Schools since 1998.    Her career began right here at Nathan Hale in 1997 as a student teacher and then long term substitute.  Her first permanent teaching position was in grade 4 at Martin Luther King School.  She has also taught at Clinton Avenue, Edgewood Magnet School, and Davis Street Arts Magnet School.  Most of her career has been spent teaching grades 3 and 4, but also taught 2nd grade for one year.  She gratefully came full circle back to Nathan Hale in 2015 as a fourth grade teacher.  “It is truly amazing how time flies and I keep having fun when I am doing a job I truly love and has always been my passion”.


Mr. Kevin Flanagan

Grade 4 Classroom Teacher

Mr. Flanagan began teaching at Nathan Hale in 2019.  He has taught 3rd grade and 4th grade.  Mr. Flanagan earned his master’s degree in Elementary Education from Southern Connecticut State University.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Web Design & Development with a specialization in Education from the University of Hartford.  After spending time as a front-end web developer, Mr. Flanagan transitioned careers to become a teacher.  “I have always loved working with kids, and I wanted a career that makes an impact on the world.  I love coming to work every day knowing I’m going to be learning and teaching something new.  My favorite part is the moment when I see a child’s excitement from figuring something out on their own.” 


Mrs. Tricia Parillo

Grade 4 Classroom Teacher

Tricia Parillo started teaching in 2007 and has been fortunate enough to teach at Nathan Hale School.  She also attended Nathan Hale school as a student.  Tricia received her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Southern Connecticut State University and is certified to teach grades K-6.  She received her master's degree from Southern Connecticut State University in School Health and is certified to teach health to grades K-12.  “I love teaching for many reasons.  Some of the many reasons I love teaching is, knowing that I am helping students succeed in all areas of their life.  I love learning something new about myself and my students every day.  I love working at Nathan Hale and having the support of the staff and families to help all children succeed and learn to their full potential.  It is a gift to help mold the young minds of students and help them in all aspects of their life, academically and emotionally.”


Ms. Michele Ricci

Grade 4 Classroom Teacher

Michele Ricci began teaching right out of college in September of 1990.  Ms. Ricci went to college at the University of Hartford where she earned her bachelor's degree.  She then received her master's degree at Southern Connecticut State University.  She taught at a catholic school in Meriden from September 1990 to October 1991.  She was hired in New Haven in October 1991 at Nathan Hale School as a 6th grade teacher.  She has taught 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade.  She also held the position of Dean of Students for several years.  Her love and passion for teaching became the reason she decided to head back into the classroom in the fall of 2019 teaching 4th grade. 


Mrs. Larissa Giordano

Grade 5 Classroom Teacher

Mrs. Giordano earned her BA in Journalism from Ithaca College in 1999.  She later returned to get her MBA in Elementary Education at Sacred Heart University. She has been teaching in New Haven Public Schools since 2003, beginning at Vincent Mauro grades 2 and 3 and started at Nathan Hale in 2008 teaching grades 2, 4, 5 and 6.   Her favorite part about teaching is being with children and capturing their spirit in their smiles


Mr. Lou Forte

Grade 5 Classroom Teacher

Mr. Forte


Mr. Ryan Mullins

Grade 6 Teacher

Ryan Mullins received his Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Connecticut and his Master’s Degree from University of New Haven. Ryan was a student teacher in second grade, long term substitute in third grade, and a building substitute at Nathan Hale School during the previous school year.  In 2016 he began his teaching career as a fifth and sixth grade writing teacher. “Teaching has been my dream job since I was in middle school. Having the privilege to engage and work with such a dynamic group of young people is an incredibly rewarding experience. I learn something new every day from working with them.” 


Ms. Jaimee Mendillo

Grade 6 Teacher

Jaimee Mendillo received her Bachelor’s Degree in American History from the University of Pennsylvania and her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of New Haven. Miss Mendillo worked for the New Haven Board of Education from 2003 until 2012, during which time she taught elementary and middle school students at East Rock and Beecher Schools; was a year-long building substitute at Worthington Hooker School; taught summer school in the third grade mandatory program and the high school for credit program; and was a long-term substitute kindergarten teacher here at Nathan Hale School in the Spring of 2004. Miss Mendillo has also worked for the East Shore Regional Adult Continuing Education program, with adult students completing credits towards their high school diploma. Miss Mendillo took some time off from teaching in 2012 to focus on her family, but is thrilled to be back at Nathan Hale as the 6th grade teacher for Reading and Mathematics. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats


Mrs. Trudy Anderson

World Language Teacher (Grades 6 - 8 Spanish)

Trudy Anderson has been teaching at Nathan Hale since 1992.  She has a Batchelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of CT,  a Master of Science in Education from the University of Bridgeport and a Sixth Year professional Certificate in Education from Southern Connecticut State University.  Over the years, she has been a Yale New Haven Teacher's Institute Fellow, a presenter at the CT COLT, NNELL, NECTFL and NFLC conferences. She is also a PLC workshop leader and World Language Coach in the district.  She loves introducing students to a new language and showing how knowing a second language can open new avenues of success for her students.


Ms. Katelyn Bellmore

Literature Teacher (Grades 7 - 8 )

Kate Bellmore joined the Nathan Hale School community in 2010, as a Lighthouse Literacy Tutor, and then became the 7th/8th grade language arts teacher in 2012.  Outside NHS, Kate teaches English at Southern Connecticut State University. She has a Bachelors of Theatre and English from SCSU, as well as a master’s in English secondary education.  Her certification is in English (7-12) and dramatic arts.  “I love my job here at NHS because every day I get to (re)read relevant, rewarding texts with my students. As we read To Kill a Mockingbird and The Outsiders together, I have the privilege of guiding students into understanding how they can be strong readers, thinkers, and analyzers with some of the most dynamic, engaging texts available."


Mrs. Melanie Carder

Social StudiesTeacher (Grades 7 - 8)

Melanie Carder has been teaching 7th & 8th graders Social Studies and American History at Nathan Hale School since 2000.  She is a graduate of Southern CT State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in social sciences and her master’s degree in education.  The reason why she loves to teach is her desire to make the world a better place for everyone. Her inspiration is this quote from Benjamin Disraeli, “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.”


Mr. George Evans

Math Teacher (Grades 6 - 8)

George has been teaching at Nathan Hale School since 2006.  He has bachelor's of science with a concentration in management as well as a Master of Business Administration from Quinnipiac University.  At Nathan Hale he has taught fifth grade math all the way through high school geometry.  George also teaches elementary algebra at Gateway Community College.  “The only way to learn mathematics, is to do mathematics” - Paul Holmes


Mrs. Ashley Jones

Math Teacher (Grades 6 - 8)

Ashley Jones has been teaching in New Haven Since 2008.  She joined the Nathan Hale team in 2015 teaching 7th and 8th grade math.  She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in mathematics At Southern Connecticut State University. Ashley earned her master's in Educations Leadership at the University of New England.  Her certification is in Math (7-12).  Ashley has been a Yale New Haven Teacher’s Institute Fellow.  “Math is fun for me and I want to share that with students.  I also love creating a solid math foundation for students to confidently take with them to high school”

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Mrs. Kristen Satawhite-Shoate

Science Teacher (Grades 7 - 8)

Kristin Satawhite-Shoate has been teaching middle school science since 2017 at Achievement First. This is her first year teaching at Nathan Hale School. Kristin received a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotions from Central Connecticut State University and a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration and Education from the University of Phoenix. “ The influence of a good teacher can never be erased. My goal is to be the teacher who recognizes every student for who they are and help them be the very best version of themselves. “ 


Mrs. Elizabeth Johnston

English Teacher (Grades 7 - 8)

Liz Johnston has been teaching English/Language Arts since 2003. From 2003-2011 she taught at Wilbur Cross High School. After a year at High School in the Community, she began teaching 7th and 8th grade Writing and Language Arts at Nathan Hale School in 2013. She has a BA in English and a master's degree in Education from Quinnipiac University.  I love my job because I get to work with kids all day. I love their energy, curiosity, and audacity. I enjoy helping students discover their voice in writing and hope to inspire and empower them to use it towards whatever change they'd like to see in the world.


Mrs. Christina Ferraro

Reading Teacher (Grades 6 - 8 Read-180)

Christina Ferraro followed her daughters to Nathan Hale. She began as a substitute teacher and eventually started working full time as Ms. Ricci’s paraprofessional. With the inspiration, guidance and support of the Nathan Hale family she got her teaching certificate, in 2002, from Springfield University, and has been a teacher here ever since.  “The teachers made it look so easy.” She said.  Christina graduated with her master’s in literacy from Walden University. She is a member of the Yale Teacher’s Institute.   “I love to read and am fascinated by how our brain learns.  This is a very exciting time to be a teacher. Researchers now have the tools to identify specific teaching practices that truly work. The strategies we are putting into place make classrooms more enjoyable and less stressful. I think it empowers students when they realize they can train their brains.”


Mr. Arick Lyde

Band Teacher

Mr. Lyde joined the Nathan Hale Family in 2017. He is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Music Education with a concentration on Performance. Mr. Lyde teaches Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, Piano, Percussion, Violin, Viola, and Cello at Hale. He also gives private lessons on all instruments in the Orchestra. In his spare time, he also plays drumset, marimba, and xylophone professionally.  "I believe there is no greater joy than learning how to play your favorite song on a musical instrument, and then showing it off for your friends." 


Mrs. Heather Miller

Physical Education Teacher Grades PreK - 8

Ms. Miller earned her Bachelor’s of Science Degree at Springfield College, where she majored in Movement and Sports studies.  She was also a division III field hockey player with two bids to the NCAA Division III national championships in 1999 and 2000.  Ms. Miller graduated from Springfield College in 2001 and returned home to Connecticut to pursue her career in teaching.  Ms. Miller began teaching in New Haven in 2001 at Sheridan Communications and Technology Magnet Middle School.  She taught at Sheridan until 2006 when she transferred to the Nathan Hale family in the fall of 2006.  Ms. Miller earned her master’s degree in health education from Southern Connecticut State University in 2010.  Ms. Miller is currently teaching at Nathan Hale as the Physical Education teacher and Wellness Coordinator.   “When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts.”  Dalai Lama


Mr. Matt Pascuzzo

Physical Education Teacher Grades PreK - 8

Matt Pascuzzo has been teaching P.E. and Health since 2013 and has only taught at Nathan Hale School.  He teaches Physical Education and Health Education for the Pre-K through 8th grade levels. In 2013 he received his bachelor’s degree from Springfield College in Movement and Sport Studies with a concentration in Physical Education. Along with his degree, he played 4 years of college basketball at Springfield earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament his senior year. He currently is the Assistant Varsity Basketball Coach at Fairfield Prep.

“I love my job because I am a sports/fitness guy and I am fortunate to be around it all day. I love to teach my students new skills about sports/fitness and see them develop over the years.”


Ms. Susan Horne

Art Teacher Grades K - 8

Susan Horne is in her eighth year of teaching art. She taught Pre-K to 5 for three years in Montville, CT; taught Pre-K to 8 for two years in Boston, MA and has been teaching at Nathan Hale since 2012. She received a B.A. in Fine Arts with a focus on Art History from Assumption College in Worcester, MA and her M.A. in Art Education from SCSU.  “What I love most about my job is seeing the sheer joy students have when they are using their imagination to create art.


Ms. Gillian Greco

Music Grades K - 8

Gillian Greco graduated from UConn in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a Bachelor of Science in Education.  She also graduated from UConn in 2012 with a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  In 2011 she started teaching General Music in New Haven, and in 2012 started at Nathan Hale.  “I love teaching because I get to listen, play, create, and move to music every day with my students.”


Mrs. Phyllis Voira

Technology Teacher Grades K - 8

Phyllis Voira has been teaching since 1997.  Her first 4 yours she taught at Fair Haven Middle School as a 6th grade teacher.  In 2003, she was hired at Nathan Hale as a 5th grade teacher and then taught the following year as a 6th grade teacher.   Since 2005 Phyllis has been the technology teacher here at Nathan Hale.  Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of New Haven, a master’s degree in education from the University of New Haven, and a master’s degree in educational technology from the University of Hartford.  “I love my job because I am passionate about technology and the importance it has in our world today.”

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Ms. Briana Bellinger-Dawson

Dance and Drama Teacher Grades K - 8

Briana Bellinger-Dawson started teaching in 2015 for NHPS. She has taught Dramatic Arts and Dance at Nathan Hale School (2015) as well as Theatre Studies at Cooperative Arts High School (2017). Briana has her AOS in Musical Theatre from AMDA. She is also a certified Teaching Artist through ACES. “One of the best things I love about my job is that I get to see the discovery of students finding their craft and transforming into artists. The beautiful part is that they begin under the impression that they are learning something completely foreign. Over time, they learn that the arts are merely a reflection of life.”

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